American Decline

Anarchy is not the Death of the West

by Rachel Haywire

Anarchy is not the bottom of the totem pole. It is not degradation. Anarchy is when both the totem pole and degradation are overthrown. There seems to be a common misconception that anarchy = anarchism and this idea gets more and more popular as the definition of anarchy turns more and more into the definition of anarchism. In other words, socialized anarchy, or the Karl Marx collective next door. Anarchy lite.

Anarchy is not a liberal jungle or a child commune. Anarchy is not a punk militia. Anarchy rejects these governments. Anarchy is the natural state without the modernized cultural spin. It is what we truly are and how we actually behave. Some people will say that anarchy is not practical but anarchy is the only practical form of interaction around us because anarchy is human nature. People seek to hide this from us like children by creating governments and imposing concepts like democracy and tyranny and socialism. Anarchy is the visceral expression of our rotten core. This is explained by Max Stirner in The Ego and His Own in which he clearly points out that being ruled by the people is no different from being ruled by the state. Control is control and a society ruled by a popular majority is simply not anarchy. Anarcho-collectivism is bunk.

For ages scholars and academics have tried to turn anarchy into anarchism to give it a friendlier PC meaning. They refer to a cooperative anarchist society in which people mutually work together which sounds a lot nicer than utter and complete freedom. It’s not like anarcho-collectivism sounds like the worst thing in the world, (well actually it does sound pretty bad) but it would be nice if people would stop mistaking it for anarchy. In Anarchy After Leftism: a Farewell to the Anarchy that Was! Bob Black explains this pretty well. He calls out Murray Bookchin’s social-ecology-anarchy as being a system in itself. He deconstructs the modern left as being a governing social order. Anarcho-leftism, anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism, and anarchism are all misleading terms. They do not describe anarchy but mini-governments. Emma Goldman was not an anarchist.

Anarchy is not anarchism.

Saying anarchy is “even lower than socialism” is like saying hacking is “even lower than Windows OS.” There is a massive logical fallacy here. Anarchy is not liberal decay because anarchy is not liberal. Anarchy is not the death of the west. Anarchy is our nature and therefore obliterates all forms of governments and social paradigms. Even if we are tyrants inside (and I am inclined to believe that we are) we are still anarchists at our very root. It is through our anarchist nature that we are able to create whatever sense of order or disorder we desire. There are no rules.

Anarchy came first.

29 replies »

  1. Bob Black was a snitch – a confidential police informant who ratted Jim Hogshire and got him arrested and ruined financially, etc over Hogshire’s personal and not commercial drug use, weapons in his home, etc. Are you referring to Emma GOLDMAN? by any chance? Not familiar with “Godman”….

  2. Your demonstration that various -isms associated with anarchy have nothing in particular to do with anarchy, but instead describe systems of governance labeled with some form of the word anarchy in order to make them interesting to those for which the word anarchy is a desirable symbol, is extremely obvious once you have finished your explanation.

    If I understand what you mean by “there are no rules” correctly, you mean that there are no natural laws which describe how we should govern ourselves, that rules are simply arbitrary human concepts superimposed on reality. Agreed.

    How do we get from anarchy as in “a state of nature” starting point to viable social structures?

    How does anarchy work within a group or organization with a defined, concrete purpose? A band, for instance. Or a high-tech startup?

    There is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that humans are hard-wired for cooperation.

    There are many different ways in which cooperation can take place on the spectrum from completely voluntary (anarchy) to completely coerced (theocratic dictatorship). What works best? That’s a matter of viewpoint.

    Structured forms of cooperation are required for the construction and operation of a technological society. The vendor webs that get food from farm to processing sites to grocery store and the vendor webs that many forms of raw materials from mines to processing to big box stores as manufactured products require structures to impose sufficient predictability on the required interactions to make it possible for them to operate. At the most basic level, who makes contracts? Who enforces contracts, both in interpretation and punishment for entities committing fraud? Can these structured forms of cooperation exist in the absence of either government or organizations that don’t call themselves government but exist for an identical purpose?

  3. NIce article.Some questions:

    1. Would anarchy leave people / communities susceptible to manipulation without protection?

    2. Is there room in anarchy for organisation of any sort? E.g. Religions? Companies? Sports teams? Hospitals? None of which seem to be anarchic by definition or even necessity. And how would such organisations relate to one another and to people?

    3. If anarchy is the natural state – how and why was it lost to what we have now?

    4. Would political organisation be illegal in an anarchic system and who would write the law that made it so and who would enforce it?

    5. Can the current, non-anarchic system ever be overthrown for an anarchic one considering that it would probably take political organisation and control to do the overthrowing leaving that legacy after the revolution? (We see this sort of thing in almost any national reform situation – the freedom fighters tend to become the new leadership).


    • What is natural changes because Man changes. Anarchy is a transition period. That is it.

      Societies form because there is a survival benefit to them.

    • “If anarchy is the natural state – how and why was it lost to what we have now? ”

      I think its feasible as a natural state amongst virtuous people only.

      • “I think its feasible as a natural state amongst virtuous people only.”

        That’s what I said when I first entered the ATS scene.

  4. So: after 150 years, we are ready to look de Sade in the face, eyeball to eyeball. He comes on, always, like a Zen Master, shouting right into our ears: “Tyranny or Anarchy — you must choose. Answer now!”

    He was the first one mad enough and sane enough to accept the given, the immutable, to start from man-in-history rather than from man-in-theory. Well, he says, I don’t believe in the “noble savage,” I even doubt that he is “inherently good,” but taking him as he is I still say: Freedom. He deserves liberty because nobody else is good enough to take it away from him.

    He looked into anarchy, he looked past the voluntarily organized anarchy of Proudhon and Tolstoy, he looked into chaos itself, and he said, yes, even that, I will accept even that, before I will bend the knee to any Authority that claims to own me.

    Robert Anton Wilson, Thirteen Choruses for the Divinie Marquis

    • “He looked into anarchy, he looked past the voluntarily organized anarchy of Proudhon and Tolstoy, he looked into chaos itself, and he said, yes, even that, I will accept even that, before I will bend the knee to any Authority that claims to own me.”

      They guy who owned and tyrannized sex slaves and for whom “sadism” was coined?

      • “They guy who owned and tyrannized sex slaves and for whom “sadism” was coined?”

        Yup that guy. And don’t forget he murdered his son, to please the revolutionary tyranny of the French Republic.

        • “And don’t forget he murdered his son”

          And don’t forget that this isn’t actually true… Got to love Todd, always trying to manipulate his way onto the moral high ground.

          • “And don’t forget that this isn’t actually true… Got to love Todd, always trying to manipulate his way onto the moral high ground.”

            Ok de Sade’s son escaped the republic, so sue me. The point is de Sade abandoned his son, in 1792, to save is neck.

            Got to love how Max loves to decant lunatic rapists and feign moral outrage.

  5. Hey Jeremy, nice to see the great Wilson quoted. I did consider writing about Discordianism as a blueprint for a political movement, but I thought that might:

    A. Be really hard
    B. Ruin the joke

    Hail Eris!

    • Pope Pearson: I think B. is the real problem, since the joke is the whole thing. I love old Bob’s thinking, but his attitude constitutes the ongoing lesson for me. He really softened me up to reject ideology as a solution, and I guess that’s the kind of metapolitics that informs approaching ARV from the left.

      • Pope Jeremy,

        I believe Wilson was advocating a serious, for want of a better word, political philosophy and more than that proposing an ethos and detailing organisational mechanisms in Illuminatus! (and related works) I appreciate that is quite difficult to believe given the style and general approach of the book. And this is where we really get heretical, I think that the humour and general weirdness employed was more than just Wilson’s style; I think it is itself a demonstration of the essential elitism of the concept. Which is to say, you’ve got have be a certain sort of person to understand the joke and thus get the message. So by the medium itself creates a filter which excludes people not capable of appreciating the proposals (and in many cases humiliates them in the process, conspiracy theorists in particular). Now obviously if that is the case then by explaining it I’ve rather broken the rules, however since I also ate the hot dog on Friday……

        “If you want in on the Discordian Society
        then declare yourself what you wish
        do what you like
        and tell us about it
        or if you prefer
        There are no rules anywhere.
        The Goddess Prevails.”

        I think that’s a perfectly workable model for a political/cultural/artistic/social movement.

        • The Illuminatus! Trilogy is hands down my favorite book in the world. I agree with everything you say, with perhaps the caveat that I struggle to take it all with the right degree of lightness. It’s too easy to read him and become the cheerful variety of nihilist. He clearly does articulate a political approach, but that to me is the easy part — that’s all I meant.

          • I’d say that Illuminatus! contains more novel and radical political concepts than any other book I’ve ever read. And it’s got a few lolz thrown in for good measure. I particularly liked Markoff Chaney’s guerrilla war of cognitive dissonance.

            Like I say I’m not sure it is meant to be taken as lightly as that, certainly Wilson (and Shea) couldn’t have amassed anything like that amount of knowledge of weird stuff without an interest in it (and before the internet!), and people that smart could not be simply indifferent, they must have an opinion.

            Wilson presents a world in which nothing is black and white, nothing is definite and nothing is without humour. I came to the conclusion that the style of the book itself was a representation of the ideas within it.

            After all what could be more revolutionary, more subversive than a relaxed, even mocking, attitude to knowledge and intelligence itself? Is there anything in our society more sacred than information? However Wilson refuses to even say what he thinks clearly and mocks every idea he advances even as he does so. Was there a joke in the Communist Manifesto? Did Kropotkin ever made a crude reference to specialist interest sex acts in a political/philosophical essay?

            And it works, because people read Illuminatus! and they are inspired by it far more than they are by dry plodding tombs of earnest political argument. People on the right “wave length” with the right mentality “get it” and they do so in a far more efficient manor than they would by years of hard study.

            By the way, if you like Illuminatus! you might want to take a look at the work of the British band the KLF, or at least read their wiki entry. They took this stuff so seriously (or not seriously depending on your point of view) they burned one million 1990’s British pounds (about $2,500,000 in today’s US$). Oh and this.


  6. I used to keep chickens. You can learn a lot from chickens. For example, chickens have hierarchies; but they don’t have laws. Any definition of anarchism or anarchy which excludes chickens ….. needs work.

    • I like this analogy but you are implying that anarchy cannot exist without people which is true socially but not conceptually.

  7. I disagree. As an Autocratic Right Wing person here is my take.

    Anarchy is a Liberal movement. It takes Liberty and Freedom to its extreme. The belief being that the individual, without government control, is the best way to create a society.

    Now it is interesting that “Attack the System” has a Right Wing spin with the concept of Anarchism. The followers here attempts to want Anarchism, not with an underlying motive for Hedonism or Egalitarianism, but rather for reemergence of vitality, strength, self-determination, etc. Will to Power sort to speak.

    However the author fails to realize the reason as to why this offshoot of Anarchism won’t go anywhere is because it is just that, an offshoot.

    Anarchism is emergence from the the belief that Communism failed because any form of government automatically destroys a classless and stateless society. You simply cannot have a dictatorship of the proletariat yet still have no tyranny.

    The true (Far)Right “attacks on Modernity” has always exist. The major camps on the Right is Traditionalism or Darwinism. But, the attacks on Modernity does not equal Anarchism. The Right (very broad stroke here) believes in hierarchy. Hierarchy creates a classes of some kind. I guess you could argue that allowing for no government we allow “natural” classes to emerge. But that is contradictory to the Anarchist message of wanting a classless society.

    Liberalism comes from Liberate/Liberty. The prefix being “Lib” meaning “free from constraints.” Anarchism is a natural political progression of Liberalism–one of many. When did Liberalism start? In the mid to late 1700s (specific date is subjective).

    Many notice inclination for Liberals to utilize the state for varying of purposes. Most Liberals like government only in and as far as it serves the permissiveness of themselves/individual. Hedonism. A bigger government can give them more benefits/things as they go about their daily lives.

    Another reason for wanting more government is because they believe that equality and mutual reciprocity are the same. A moral and just society (to them) is one that treats everyone them same. Since true Egalitarianism doesn’t exist in nature, except in the minds of Primitive Communist/Environmentalist, they believe that is the government/societies job to create equality.

    And why shouldn’t they? Based upon America’s founding being Liberal in nature (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness), this is the inevitable conclusion the the Liberal “The Enlightenment” experiment. The fact that it will fail is a different story.

    There is a Individualism that is right wing. Illiberal Nietzsche ascribes it as “The Will to Power”–the ability of inner self mastery that can manifest in to position of power or essence.

    This has been the divergence when it comes to concept of “Freedom (How I despise that word because Freedom really means Hedonism. So I don’t use it anymore).” The Left believes that “Freedom” means the ability to do what one wants for pleasure, Hedonism. The Right believes that Freedom mean the ability to master one’s self and/or to establish one’s self overtly unto the elements and man itself.

  8. I agree with much of the OP. In spite of our modernity I don’t believe anyone is designed for modern society in spite of the fact that some are able to excel within it more than others.

    Supposedly, in Ice Age Europe, it’s estimated there were 4000 hunter gatherers across the continent…now, 4000 is the number of people in a city block!

    In Oliver James’ book ‘They F*** You Up’ (, Ch 4, it’s argued, (citing Jean Liedloff’s book ‘The Continuum Concept’) that the pattern of attachment for children is severely disrupted by the civilising aspects of society (farming, trades, barter etc) for the simple reason that less time is available to be devoted to children. Consequently, the children grow up more insecure and these insecurities are manifested in a plethora of ways from criminality upwards…maladjustment to modern life can easily find its origins in our hunter/gatherer past.

    So, YES, anarchy did come first!

  9. I’m entirely unconcerned with primitivism or egoism or any other sort of romantic declinism, so the insistence that anarchy is not ‘liberal decay’ is of no interest to me.

    That aside, a couple of thoughts: First, you’re right that there’s no difference between rule by superior numbers and rule by superior strength (the former is just a way of achieving the latter). Secondly, anarchy, in your (and Stirner’s) sense, seems to reduce to a trivialty if critically examined. Viewed through the lense of legal nihilism or human nature (which we cannot, by definition, do anything contrary to) every possible social circumstance becomes ‘anarchy’, and anything we do is anarchy by definition, because there are no rules except those we choose to follow (for whatever reasons, desire to not be beaten to death by police being one among many). Which, yes, legal nihilism is a position I agree with – as have any number of oppressors and tyrants, communitarian and otherwise – but if we’re going to make ‘anarchy’ synonymous with it, anarchy then has nothing to do with actually not having rulers.

  10. anarchists are agents for the NWO till the NWO takes over, then they will be banned like many other utopian dreamers. They are allowed because they undermine the stage actors or puppets for the need is to tear society all the way down to then rebuild it in a pure form (good for only a small number of people)
    Rachel in knowledge or not with her antics is trying to bring it about. THey come in all forms and “outrageousness” is one of the many clothes they wear

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